* Petunia hybrida (Hook.) Vilm., Album Vilmorin (1858) No. 8.
Basionym: Petunia violacea; hybrida Hook., Bot. Mag. 64 (1837) t. 3556.
T: A plant cultivated in the U.K., possibly the plate (see the plate at www.botanicus.org/item/31753002721378)
Sprawling annual to 50 cm long, pubescent with long and short glandular hairs, viscid.
Leaves alternate or upper ones paired, lower shortly petiolate, upper sessile, ovate to elliptic, variable in size the lower to 7 x 5 cm, the upper reduced, base rounded, apex acute.
Flowers solitary in leaf axils, bisexual, slightly zygomorphic. Pedicels 3–6 cm. Calyx campanulate, deeply lobed, the lobes narrow rectangular to spathulate to subfoliate (in some cultivars), 1–2 cm long. Corolla funnel-shaped to salverform, double in some cultivars, white, yellowish, pink to reddish-blue, purple, tube 3–4 cm long, limb rotate to broadly lobed 5–10 cm diam. Stamens 5, 4 in two pairs the fifth shorter, all inserted about midpoint of corolla tube. Anthers versatile c. 2 mm diam. coloured or not, opening by longitudinal slits. Ovary bilocular, style to 3 cm, stigma capitate.
Capsule smooth, opening from the apex, enclosed by the calyx lobes. Seeds 0.5–0.75 mm, near globular, reticulate, numerous.
Distribution and ecology
Sporadic feral plants of this commonly cultivated species do occur and it is recorded as naturalised in the plant censuses of Western Australia and New South Wales.
Petunia is one of the most popular bedding plants in the world. A huge array of cultivars is available, provided by a technically and scientifically advanced industry.
Cultivars differ in plant habit, longevity, colour, doubleness, size, veining and ruffled margins.
They are derived from crosses between P. integrifolia and P. axillaris and complex hybrids between them.
W.A.: Inglewood, B. J. Lepschi & T. R. Lally 1775 (AD, CANB, NY, PERTH). S.A.: Between Wychwood & Harwood, R. Bates 40886 (AD). Qld: 3 km N of Coolum Beach, P. R. Sharpe 2520 (AD, BRI). N.S.W.: Northbridge, P. Frischknecht & L. A. S. Johnson 8528 (AD, NSW).
Derivation of epithet
From hybrida, Latin for hybrid and a reference to the origin of this species.
Images and information on web
For images of Petunia hybrids on the web see the Missouri Botanical Garden site at www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/Plant.asp?code=A601
There are some high resolution images of this species at http://www.plantsystematics.org/
A line drawing of Petunia hybrida is shown on the Flora of China page at http://digitalis.mobot.org/mrsid/296/29602084_001.gif
The illustration prepared for the description of this "species" in the Botanical Magazine in 1837, plate 3556, can be seen at www.botanicus.org/item/31753002721378 It represented a hybrid between P. violacea and P. nyctaginiflora and was considered to be amonst "the greatest ornaments of the greenhouse in the Glasgow Botanic Garden during the month of May (1836)".
Further information about the possible toxic properties of this plant can be found with a search in the FDA Poisonous Plant Database